The stages of family life cycle marketing

Written by lalla scotter
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The stages of family life cycle marketing
Families progress through different stages as the children grow up. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

No company can possibly make all of its products attractive to the whole range of consumers. People have different levels of income and want to buy different things. So marketing professionals segment the market -- that is, they divide consumers into groups with similar needs, wants, and buying characteristics. They are then able to target these groups with marketing messages that will appeal particularly to them. One way of segmenting the market for consumer products is to look at the different stages in the typical family life cycle.

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Bachelor stage

People in this stage are often referred to as SINKs -- single income, no kids. They are young, single people. They typically have quite low earnings as they are just starting out in their careers. However, because they either live at home or share rental properties with friends, they have relatively high discretionary incomes. They spend money on holidays, cars, music, fashion and cosmetics. Marketing messages tend to focus on the ability of products to attract potential partners -- for this demographic, sex sells.

Newly married

These are couples who are living together (not necessarily married) but have no children, also known as DINKs -- double income, no kids. As both partners are probably working, they have a higher combined income than the people in the previous stage. They are making major purchases, particularly of furniture and other domestic items, and starting to entertain at home, rather than going out to pubs and clubs. They are also a strong market for exotic holidays.

Full nest

There are various sub-segments in this market, as it covers young parents with new babies as well as older parents with teenagers still living at home or just spreading their wings at university. New parents typically have lower incomes, because one parent is taking maternity leave or has opted to work part-time or stop work altogether. Marketing messages for all products tend to focus on an ideal family life.

Empty nest

In the early part of this stage, at least one partner is still working. With no children living at home to absorb their funds and a relatively small mortgage, they have high levels of disposable income and a taste for luxury items and travel. Newly retired couples tend to have a slightly reduced income, but are still targeted for leisure activities. They can be referred to as WOOPs -- well-off older people.

Solitary survivor

Older, single people, either retired or still working, tend to be targeted for healthcare products and equipment that supports independent living.

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